Salesmanship takes time to develop, but it is an essential component of every business. Especially in the beginning, many entrepreneurs make sales mistakes. Some common mistakes come with the learning curve, but others can tarnish your company's reputation or potentially ruin your business. Before embarking on sales, take a look at your sales strategy and past sales errors to identify common mistakes that may be impacting your bottom line. Following are three of the most common and potentially costly sales errors.
Overselling your product or service
Many entrepreneurs are passionate about their business, and it can be easy to let this enthusiasm color your sales pitch. However, you should avoid overstating the benefits of your product or service based on potential. The Harvard Business Review outlines the benefits of honesty in sales pitches on its blog. "In fact, if you've gained your success with even a little bit of dishonesty, it's not really success. Be straight with the customer. Let him or her see both the upside and the downside to using your products." Clearly communicating all aspects of your product or service can help build credibility with prospects.
Not having a defined sales process
If your company doesn't have a set sales process, then it may be more difficult to ensure consistency as your business grows. Defining a sales process will also help you develop your sales pitch to accurately communicate the benefits of your product or service to potential buyers. Forbes article titled, "How to Build Consistency Into Your Sales Process," outlines steps you can take to develop a consistent message for your whole sales force. One step is to, "Have the group define your prospect's needs. Ask your team, 'What does a prospect go through to work with us?' Focus on your prospect's journey before they even speak with you." If you don't have a sales team yet, develop your process with your employees, or at least determine a solid process you can pass down as your business grows.
Not focusing on building a relationship
At its core, the seller-buyer relationship is just that, but some entrepreneurs lose sight of this fact and focus instead on making sales. However, if you've built a relationship with your clients, they will likely come back to you for repeat business. An article on Inc.com titled, "Successful Sales: How to Build Relationships and Still Close the Deal" by Jeff Haden states, "Relationships are built over time, and it's important that early in the process your prospective clients gain trust in your belief in your product or service and your seriousness about delivering value."
These and other sales mistakes may be detrimental to your business over time. However, defining a process and clearly communicating the benefits of your product or service can help drastically reduce potential mistakes.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger for CBS Small Business Pulse
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